Lawrencium (Lr)


  • Symbol: Lr
  • Atomic Number: 103
  • Atomic Weight: [266]
  • Element Classification: Actinide
  • Discovered By: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory team led by Albert Ghiorso
  • Discovery Date: 1961
  • Name Origin: Named after Ernest O. Lawrence, inventor of the cyclotron
  • Density(g/cc): Estimated to be around 15.6 (predicted)
  • Melting Point: 1627°C (estimated)
  • Boiling Point: Not determined
  • Appearance: Presumed to be a silvery metal, but its actual appearance is unknown due to its radioactivity and scarcity
  • Atomic Radius(pm): Estimated


Lawrencium was discovered in 1961 by a research team at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, led by Albert Ghiorso. The team produced lawrencium by bombarding californium-252 with boron-10 and boron-11 nuclei in the Heavy Ion Linear Accelerator (HILAC). The element was named in honor of Ernest O. Lawrence, the inventor of the cyclotron, a type of particle accelerator instrumental in the discovery of many synthetic elements.

Relation to Other Elements

Lawrencium is the last member of the actinide series in the periodic table, and it shares many of the characteristics common to actinides, such as radioactivity and the ability to form multiple oxidation states. Although its chemical properties are not well-studied due to its short half-life and the challenges of producing it in appreciable quantities, lawrencium is expected to resemble the lighter actinides in its chemistry. Initial studies suggest that, unlike most actinides which exhibit a stable +3 oxidation state, lawrencium may prefer a +3 oxidation state but can possibly form a +2 state as well.

Natural Occurrence

Lawrencium does not occur naturally and is synthesized in nuclear reactors or particle accelerators.


Due to its short half-life, intense radioactivity, and the difficulties associated with its synthesis, lawrencium’s uses are limited to scientific research:

  • Scientific Research: Lawrencium’s primary use is in basic scientific studies to understand the properties of actinides and the behavior of elements at the end of the periodic table. Research involving lawrencium aims to explore its atomic structure, nuclear properties, and potential chemical behaviors.
  • Synthesis of Heavier Elements: As with other heavy elements, experiments with lawrencium contribute to efforts in synthesizing heavier elements, advancing knowledge of nuclear physics and chemistry.

The discovery of lawrencium marked a significant achievement in the exploration of synthetic elements, honoring Ernest Lawrence’s contributions to nuclear science. While practical applications are beyond current reach, lawrencium remains a subject of scientific interest, particularly in the study of the periodic table’s limits and the properties of superheavy elements.

Nobelium (No)

Rutherfordium (Rf)